27 April, 2016

Cape Storm and a year of gardening

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Last Friday Cape Town had fierce wind. Traffic chaos. Flooding. Trees down.

Calm after the storm

And lessons about microclimates. Three Iceberg roses in our garden. The two at the gate were sheltered behind the wall and are lush and green. The inherited standard was blasted by salty spray on the wind and is shedding dead leaves, and yet popping out new flowers. Next to the street below us is a green belt with a row of large Brachylaena. One was pushed over and uprooted by the wind. Grateful that the garden has a green sheltered look which we chose in December 2012. My garden is geared to summer's prevailing Southeaster, but the winter storms and cold fronts roll in across the Atlantic from Antarctica. I choose and prune my trees for many trunks and branches up and down as well as across. Top heavy lollipop standards are Not A Good Idea.

20 April, 2016

From rare plants to a labyrinth

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

At the Rare Plants Sale at Tokara in Stellenbosch (wine, olives and a restaurant) I bought 2 trees and 2 herbs. Calpurnia aurea, yellow flowers, planted, after I cut back the fiddlewood. Pavetta is waiting for the third raised bed at the 'final' heap of excess garden soil. Where does it come from?? Creeping thyme and marjoram planted at the blue pot, after I moved the mint, which doesn't creep. It explodes!

Tokara from the dam wall


13 April, 2016

Autumn in moody blues

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town gardens in autumn are washed in 'When I am an old lady I shall wear purple' (Read by Jenny Joseph herself) and (Jenny Joseph on the popularity of her poem "Warning"). Thru our bay window across the road is a mound of Barleria, April violets, covered in flowers. My new little plant has a brave handful. Two doors down are taller plants, reaching for the eaves (if they are not given the Kirstenbosch chop after flowering) Hypoestes, ribbon bush - the petals delicately marked if you come a little closer. We have inherited two Discovered Treasures. Plectranthus, spurflower. A low spreading gently greyed out blue like lavender and a tall shrub with vibrant spikes of flowers singing like true violets. Both are succulent and easy to grow from cuttings.

Moody blues in April


06 April, 2016

Fishing for diamonds and dolosse

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

The only dirt toll road in South Africa is on the service road for the Sishen Saldanha railway. From Eland’s Bay to Lambert’s Bay. You can look at spring flowers without a fence excluding you from the farmer’s fields. No traffic, so you can stop for pictures.

Sishen-Saldanha railway